Edward J. Lee is a corporate partner in the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Ed’s practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions and shareholder activism defense. Ed also regularly counsels corporations and boards of directors on securities law, corporate governance and crisis management.

Ed has extensive experience advising major public companies and private equity firms on their most significant domestic and cross-border M&A transactions, as well as on spin-offs and carve-outs, joint ventures, and initial public and other complex securities offerings. During his career, he has advised on announced transactions with an aggregate value of over $700 billion, including over $350 billion since 2019. Ed has represented clients in some of the most significant and complex M&A transactions in recent years, including United Technologies’ $140 billion merger of equals with Raytheon Company and simultaneous spin-offs of Carrier Global and Otis Worldwide, and its $30.3 billion acquisition of Rockwell Collins; Celgene Corporation’s $98 billion acquisition by Bristol Myers Squibb; Walgreens’ $27 billion two-staged acquisition of Alliance Boots GmbH and related reorganization to create Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.; NortonLifeLock’s ~$25 billion combination with Avast; and Salesforce’s $15.7 billion acquisition of Tableau.

Ed has also advised numerous boards of directors and senior management teams in connection with unsolicited takeover proposals, as well as in response to shareholder activism campaigns and other contested situations involving, among others, Elliott Management, Jana Partners, Sachem Head, Third Point, Pershing Square, Relational Investors, and Starboard Value.

Ed is recognized as one of the 500 leading lawyers in America (across all practice areas, as well as among dealmakers) by Lawdragon, as a “Notable Diverse Leader in Law” by Crain's, and as an “M&A Client Service All-Star” by BTI Consulting Group. Chambers USA recognizes him as among the best lawyers in the country for Corporate/M&A and he was highlighted by clients interviewed by Chambers for “do[ing] more than just serv[ing] as a lawyer; he gives all-round advice,” being “super responsive and very practical” and “know[ing] where things should end up and the path to get there.” In 2022, he was one of six M&A attorneys nationwide chosen as a Law360 MVP. Ed has been named a leading lawyer and as “highly regarded” within the M&A practice by IFLR1000, and as a “Rising Star” in Corporate/M&A by Expert Guides and by Law360. He has also been recognized by The Legal 500 for his work on mergers & acquisitions (large deals – $1bn+) and shareholder activism. Ed is a frequent speaker on M&A and shareholder activism, including co-chairing PLI’s Shareholder Activism conference in 2018–2020.


Memberships & Affiliations

David Rockefeller Fellow, Partnership for New York City, Class of 2017–2018

Board of Directors, Harvard Law School Association of New York City

Cornell University Council

Board of Directors, Korean American Community Foundation (KACF) 


Admissions & Qualifications

  • New York


  • Harvard Law SchoolJ.D.cum laude
  • Cornell UniversityB.S.